Increased MetroRail capacity, 50 percent more MetroExpress bus service in Austin, Leander starts Jan. 7

New MetroRail cars will be implemented in January to provide additional capacity.

New MetroRail cars will be implemented in January to provide additional capacity.

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Pavilion Park & Ride
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Capital Metro is implementing two significant changes Sunday, Jan. 7 that will boost MetroRail commuter line capacity and increase MetroExpress bus service by 50 percent in the Leander, Lakeline and Austin areas.

Changes were approved in September as part of the agency’s investment in expanding MetroRail as well as continuing to implement its Connections 2025 service plan, which outlines service changes for the next 10 years.


Thanks to a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation, Capital Metro was able to purchase four new trains totaling eight new cars to increase capacity. The new trains arrived in 2017 and will be put into service Jan. 7.

Capital Metro is adding the trains in pairs to alleviate congestion during morning and afternoon peak trips. The trains won’t technically increase the frequency of MetroRail; that change won’t occur until additional improvements are made along the tracks and when construction of a permanent downtown station is completed. A combination of federal and state grants would pay for those efforts.

“We’re working on a lot of different projects, the [federal grant] projects and the new downtown station. When those projects are complete, we’ll have the full benefit of all the rail cars,” Capital Metro planner Lawrence Deeter said.
New trip pairs from the Leander Station

  • 6:51 a.m. and 6:56 a.m.

  • 7:27 a.m. and 7:32 a.m.

  • 8:03 a.m. and 8:08 a.m.

New trip pairs from the Downtown Station

  • 4:17 p.m. and 4:22 p.m.

  • 4:53 p.m. and 4:58 p.m.

  • 5:29 p.m. and 5:34 p.m.

Express bus changes

Other significant service changes include rerouting Express buses to utilize the new MoPac express lanes that opened in October at no cost to Capital Metro or riders.

In November, Capital Metro launched a new route, 980, that departs from downtown Round Rock and makes a stop at the new Park & Ride at New Life Church, 3200 Century Park Blvd., Austin, near MoPac and Howard Lane.

A second new Express route, 981, will operate from the Park & Rides at Pavilion, 12400 US 183, Austin, and at Great Hills Baptist Church, 10500 Jollyville Road, Austin.

Routes 980, 981 and 985 will use the new MoPac express lanes and make stops in downtown Austin first before heading to the Capitol Complex and then The University of Texas.

Routes 982 and 987 will exit MoPac at 35th Street to serve the 38th Street medical district first before heading to UT, the Capitol and downtown Austin.

The transit agency is also eliminating Route 983 because of duplicate service but adding more trips on routes 982 and 985 to provide all-day service. Route 987 serving the Leander/Lakeline areas will also have added trips and operate in the express lanes for some trips.

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By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and later senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels.


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